In times past mediums have been leaders of the race.
The grand intellects which stand along the shores of time like beacon lights, showing the pathway mankind has wearily trod, one and all, exceeded their time by the contact they held with the spirit world.
In those rude ages only an individual, in a generation or a century, penetrated the veil, and because filled with innovative ideas, became a leader. Now the cause of Spiritualism, because of greater spiritual development, is expressed by numberless mediums instead of one, but the law is nevertheless the same.
The direction and leadership are with the mediums, because they are the visible exponents. The inspiration of Jesus Christ has its power in the ideal purity and unworldliness men hastened to throw around him, feeling that if he was not perfect he ought to be.
Mediums who resort to fraud, however startling the genuine phenomena occurring in their presence, are unworthy of credence and only under strictly test conditions is their mediumship of value.
Instead of encouraging loose, disorderly and dissolute lives by claiming irresponsibility for the medium, and the presence of evil spirits, honour, purity and virtue should be demanded. If evil spirits come, it is because the mind is prepared for them; because the activity of the lower nature has repelled the spirits of the good.
The story of Christ and the tempter is instructive. He did not say, “I am so exquisitely sensitive that the evil as well as the good spirits alike use me; Satan as well as the prophets.” He exercised the prerogative of developed mediumship and placed the evil spirit beneath his feet.
A medium cannot be controlled to do anything against his determined will, and the plea that he is compelled by spirits is no excuse for wrong-doing. The medium, like anyone else, knows right from wrong, and if the controlling spirit urges toward the wrong, yielding is as reprehensible as it would be to the promptings of passion or the appetites. While in this earth life the duties and obligations contracted therein are paramount to all others, a proposition which must be admitted by all right-thinking spirits the medium who is unbiased in his own mind, cannot be led away from right-doing by the influence of mortals or spirits. How of obsession? To be obsessed, a helpless tool obedient to the will of another, requires in the obsessed an organization similar to that of the obsessing intelligence. Whatever is thought or done in that state is as the individual would do in his normal state if he followed his own inclinations. The obsessing force is obliged to move in the direction of the organization of the obsessed. If the husband has a desire to leave his wife, a spirit so wishing, may intensify that desire. If he affirms that he is led by the spirit, he in other words expresses his own feelings.
Such influences may be overcome by simply rising above them. The lingering belief in evil influences, of Satan and his friends, is the open gateway for the entrance of disturbing influences. In such cases the lower nature is more susceptible than the higher, and the tendency is downward.
We are all individual spirits, and we have the right and power to assert that individuality and rise above all and every influence. To make such assertion is a duty demanded of us, each one. If disturbing—what we call evil—influences come, we should first cleanse ourselves, by turning constantly to the highest and purest and inflexibly hold ourselves independent of all influences, and able to determine the order that shall enter our sphere.
Thinking of the undesired influence, and talking about it with friends, is an exciting cause, and should be discontinued. Those thus sensitive often talk about their troubles until every shadowy whim becomes reality and fastens on the mind with an energy increasing at every recital. The only advice is that given to those suffering from physical disease: Do not think about it, do not talk about it. Think: and talk about things above and beyond.
The advice of spirits should not be taken unless reasonable, and they may not understand the situation as well as those they seek to benefit.
Education is not necessary to inspiration, but it is to its highest tide. It is not necessary that this education be received in schools or colleges. Education is the training of the mind to clearly receive and perfectly express ideas. Inspiration, or the sensitive state—mediumship—may be made most helpful in education. If the sensitive patiently cultivates his receptivity, and is not eager to exploiter to the public before the necessary long and severe training. He cannot go before the public like a trumpet, to be spoken through. Such attempts have been dismal failures, except in a few rare instances apparently exceptional, but not so, because of the inherent endowment of the instruments employed.
The great minds of earth have been receptive—sensitive—and the wisdom they have displayed has been inspired. They have become so by their organization and training. Having studied statecraft, the great statesman is prepared and does receive his best thoughts from departed statesmen. Through the sensitive preacher, preachers of the past find tongue. The
man of science has skill and faithfulness, but beyond he receives impressions from those in the higher sphere who have studied the special subjects then engaging his attention. There is a sensitiveness of organization which makes its possessor an instrument, such as it is. This sensitiveness by culture becomes receptivity, the highest form of mediumship. This culture may be made, and often is, by education, and training the mind to concentrated efforts in special directions, and the recipient be unconscious of its possession. What a mighty force it then is possible for it to become when its laws and conditions are understood.
Various diets have been recommended as conducive to sensitiveness, and it has been long known that any diet which has a depletive effect, weakening the grosser powers of the body, allows clear perception of the spirit. While water is the beverage preferable and useful above all others, tea, coffee and lighter beverages, in moderation, so far as being detrimental or harmful, may be said to be inessential. Thus, the Indians prepared themselves for reception of spiritual communications by long fasting in solitude; but such forced sensitiveness is objectionable because of its unreliability, and the influences it catches from its environments.
A mixed diet in which fruits predominate, with greater care as to quality than kind, is preferable. A diet which sustains the physical functions, without clouding the spiritual perceptions.
We are far from admitting sensitiveness to be dependent on a diseased condition, or to be developed from suppression of physical powers. It may be induced by deprivation of food, by the use of drugs, such as hashish, iris, narcotics and tobacco. The priestess of the famous oracle of Delphos sat on a tripod once in a crevice in the rocks from which issued gaseous fumes; yet the normal development of sensitives is in every way preferable.
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